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Review of Gulfway Motel

Gulfway Motel
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Gulfway Motel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in High Island
Reviewed 25 March 2013

This is an attractive property as seen from the highway, centrally located for beach and birding activity. The town of High Island is quiet, and views of the Gulf and surrounding wetlands are great. The food in the grill is good, and the rooms appear clean.

However: Our room was "secured" only by a floppy doorknob with a gouged-out keyhole. The gap along the edge of the door freely admitted mosquitoes and highway noise. The mattress was thin enough to feel the springs, with bedding that tangled during a nights sleep. No phone, refrigerator, microwave, internet, or coffee pot...although each room is different, and they are apparently a work in progress.

We left our room for dinner one evening while motel employees were hammering and sawing in the next room. Returned a few hours later to find our door standing wide open and the overhead lights on. When asked about this, the owner said that she had noticed the open door, but just assumed we were there, and made no inquiry. Next night, a small bag of dollar store purchases was accidentally left in an unlocked vehicle. The next morning, the only thing missing was a pair of toddlers shoes.

While I fully support pet-friendly motels and shoestring budgets, I was dismayed to see that the owner's dogs had the run of the Grill while it is closed. The weather was gorgeous and warm, but the pool was dirty. We were confused with Spring breakers and expected to leave a day early, although again...no one inquired...until checkout time.

The place served it's purpose for the price, but we left with the creepy feeling of having had our belongings snooped through. Won't go back.

Room Tip: Ask to see the room before you rent it. Secure your valuables.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank _minnimel76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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37 - 43 of 62 reviews

Reviewed 18 January 2013

The Gulfway is not the Ritz, not the Comfort Inn, or even Super 8. Nor should it be! Those who choose to stay here come for reasons other than the amenities of a chain motel in an urban area. Come to enjoy the place--perhaps the birds, perhaps the fishing or the beach, or just the remoteness.

Come to have a relaxing time. And to marvel at the resiliency of people whose livelihood depends on a business operated in a difficult environment--salt air, hurricanes.

Yes, the wifi in the designated non-smoking house was unreliable. Yes, no phone, but the cell phones worked fine. We actually 2 rooms, one double bed and twins in a small room (#125 I think). The room was clean, everything worked well (including shower and toilet), the beds were comfortable.

We had leftovers from lunch at the King's Inn east of Kingsville (see review), so took advantage of the offer to heat it in the cafe microwave. The cafe is adjacent to the motel lobby. We had a solid breakfast there on Sunday morning. The food is very good, the staff friendly, and the quips on the wall are fun food for thought--especially the one about hot dogs on the moon...

We coffee addicts will think to pack the pot for the next trip. And there will be a next trip--maybe migration, maybe a relaxing winter stay.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Edge W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2012

I really wanted to be able to give a positive review about this motel. My wife and I prefer family-owned lodging to the corporate chains. So when we decided to visit High Island in November, staying here was a no-brainer. I'd never been to High Island before, but my wife has and she wanted to go because she's an avid birder, even though November is the off-season. As I understand it, this tiny town is crazy with bird watchers during high season. But not now. So going here was a quiet getaway.

If you've never been to High Island before, be forewarned. High Island is about the smallest town you can imagine. There's this motel, there's a tiny post office, there's an Exxon station, there's an RV park, and there's a place that sells carvings. Supposedly the restaurant that's part of the motel is open Wednesday through Sunday for breakfast and lunch. But apparently in the off season, they cut back to being open only on Saturday and Sunday, so I never got to try it.

With that out of the way, let's talk about the motel. There are two sections. The first section is a classic road motel from the 50s or 60s that's in an L shape, but all the rooms there are smoking rooms. To accomodate non-smoking guests, they bought a nearby house and remodeled it into about a half-dozen motel rooms. That non-smoking house is where we stayed, and we only had neighbors one of the three nights we were there. The room had a TV and a bed and a tiny fridge and a window air conditioner. The bed was reasonably comfortable. But here were the problems, some minor, some major:

- One part of the floor sinks way down whenever you step on it, like it may just crumble at any moment.
- All of the windows in the main room and the bathroom are painted shut and impossible to open.
- The window in the bathroom allows great light into the tub because the shades were broken and wouldn't go fully down. Luckily the guy who lives next door never came outside in the morning because he's get quite the free show through the bathroom window.
- Though the motel supposedly has WiFi, it only works in the lobby. Since we were in the separate house, the innkeeper recommended trying to connect to the network from the RV park across the street. I don't know how the owner of the RV park feels about that, but it's probably a moot point because it didn't work most of the time anyhow.
- There were three sources of heat designed into this room - a heater built into the wall of the bathroom that looks like it hasn't worked since the Carter administration, a forced air furnace which I never got to come on, and the wall A/C unit which did in fact blow hot (but smelly) air into the room.
- Of the three lamps in the room, two of them had bulbs that were burned out.
- There's no coffee pot in the room, and the innkeeper doesn't make coffee in the lobby until after 9:00 am. So if you want coffee early, the Exxon station is your only option. Or you can drive 20 minutes each way to a coffee shop in another town.
- The shower head fixture wasn't actually attached to the wall so the pipe sort of wobbled back and forth and all around. Also, once it settled down, it still sprayed water all over the wall and the wooden window frame, which I'm sure can't be good for long term mildew control.
- There were no hangers for our clothes. We had to walk back to the main building to get some.

All that said, the room was fairly clean, considering its state of disrepair. And the innkeeper is a nice lady who's always available during the day and evening. And it was quiet so I slept really well. And the price was pretty affordable.

So here's what I recommend. If you're coming to High Island for birding (or any other reason), first consider shopping around to see if there are vacancies at any nicer hotels in the adjacent towns. But if you do insist on staying here, be sure to pick up groceries in Winnie on your way in. Since they don't regularly offer breakfast at the motel, and there's no place else to eat in High Island, plan to bring food for all your meals. And if you like coffee, bring your own coffee maker (and coffee, of course). Finally, don't assume you're going to have easy access to internet. Definitely don't come here expecting to get some work done if your work is online.

Room Tip: develop a smoking habit so you can stand to stay in one of the smoking rooms, which must be consider...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank ToddBradley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2012

The room was clean and comfortable. The bed was also comfortable. The staff was very helpful and friendly. The pool was a refreshing sight on a hot July day. It was NOT loud, with people walking around at all hours of the night, which is something that we have experienced before at other places that we've stayed. I would recommend this place to any of my friends!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank luckygfarm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2012

The Sheraton it is not, even though the Sheraton on the seawall in Galveston did not have a frig and Gulfway does. Large room, nice and cool, excellent pool, terrific friendly owners who loaned us a beach umbrella when we went down to the water and we visited out by the pool. Wi Fi, just call and get the password. The grounds are very nice even a couple of BBQ grills and a fish cleaning station. I recommend this MOTEL to anyone who wants a nice bed and shower. I will bring my coffee pot next time but I am sure that you could borrow one if you don't have one with you. We just walked next door and got coffee. Had planned on staying several more days but according to the weather it was going to rain and a possible tropical storm was brewing so we decided to head back north. Thank you so much for the comfortable stay and making us feel so welcome. Michelle Staley and family

Room Tip: We had a large room on the inside corner which might have made it so large but I did not look inside...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Michelle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2012 via mobile

I am a single mother who wanted to get away for a weekend with my son. The beach is our favorite place to be and we did not want to travel all the way to Galveston. This hotel has character! The rooms are great, and so is the staff. The pool was clean and enjoyable. If prior reviews have made you hesitate, don't let them. The motel is minutes from the beach. the rooms were clean. The staff was very friendly. The food in the cafe attached was superb! We will be back, I guaranty!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2012
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4  Thank Colleenedwards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 May 2012

We had a rather basic room with some old furniture and fittings, a shower hose but no shower head, and no coffee making facility though you can pick up a coffee in reception when it's open. The roof looks new and I suspect it was hammered by hurricane Ike. The staff couldn't have been friendlier or more amusing and there's a good choice for breakfast. I agree it is 5 stars for birding location but our room in all honesty did need updating. There was a fair mosquito presence in the day which swelled to big numbers at night. There was no wifi reception in our room but you can get wifi in reception. The general store next door seemed well equipped and had a good supply of DEET! I couldn't find a web site for the motel. Some books talk about the High Island migration drop being later in the morning, but we found the trees were full of birds in the early morning with ongoing activity in the evening when other tourists have left the area.

Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
3  Thank Bugsy47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gulfway Motel

Address: 1365 Hwy 124, High Island, TX 77623
Region: United States > Texas > High Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in High Island
Price Range: £45 - £105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Gulfway Motel 2*
Number of rooms: 25
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Also Known As:
Gulfway Hotel High Island
Gulfway Motel High Island, Texas

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